As part of PEN International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer 2016 PEN International president Jennifer Clement wrote to poet Dareen Tatour who was under house arrest in Israel. A year on, Clement writes a follow-up letter to the poet, who is still under house arrest, awaiting another hearing.
My dear Dareen,
It was a joy to be with you and your family six weeks ago. Thank you for your kind hospitality. It was difficult to see you living as a prisoner in your home and witness the endless toll of trials and hearings on your life. As you know, PEN stands with you.
I will never forget walking by your side through the streets of Nazareth and remembering the words of Mahmoud Darwish who said, “Poetry and beauty are always making peace. When you read something beautiful you find coexistence; it breaks walls down”.
We walked to the District Court of Nazareth, built up on a hill overlooking the valley where your trials have taken place. There you spoke about poetry, about the difficulty of being a woman writer and your dream of traveling and getting to know the world. I was moved by both your wonderful sense of humor and courage.
Back in Mexico I think of you every day. I cherish the white linen cloth you gave me where, in dark red thread, you embroidered your message to the world: Poetry is not a crime.
With my friendship,
Take action for Dareen Tatour here.